Handball To Focus On Junior Teams

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If the recent statements credited to the president of the Handball Federation of Nigeria, HFN, Dauda Yusuf, were intended seriously and not tongue-in-cheeck, then handball in Nigeria may not tarry much longer in the woods.

In a bid to raise a formidable senior national handball teams in the near future, the HFN boss says the federation is set to imbibe the culture of continuity in which it plans to monitor both male and female players in the cadet and junior national teams in the country. He said they would nurture the athletes untill they are matured enough to be integrated into the senior teams.

Yusuf first dropped the hint at the end of the National U-19 Handball Championship, held in April at the Gingiya Stadium, Sokoto.

He revealed then that the tourney, which featured both male and female teams from the 35 States of the federation, was used to discover young and talented players for future national teams.

“I am happy with the outcome of the championship because the federation has achieved its goal, which is to discover young male and female players whom we can groom for the senior national teams in the near future,” hinted Yusuf.

He said: “Our Technical Department discovered talented young players at the championship, who have the potential to play in the senior national teams. But these players must be well-groomed and properly monitored.”

Recently, once again, the HFN boss reiterated the commitment of the federation to the policy by saying that the plan of the body is to keep the players who featured at the just-concluded African Junior Handball Championship in Ghana and integrate them into the senior national teams.

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He added that the body will encourage the players and monitor them closely so that they can be fully integrated into the senior teams.

“The plan of the federation is to monitor the players who featured at the last African Junior Handball Championship and motivate them so that they can take over from the current senior team when they are matured,” said Yusuf.

He said: “These are the players who will form the senior national team in future if the federation begins to monitor them. The federation intends to keep them and give them necessary support that they need to represent the country in future.”

Yusuf said that the goal will not be a tall one for the federation, adding that the players are within the age bracket of the junior team.

“We don’t expect to have any problem in achieving our goal because we did not give room for age cheats in the team selection. The players that we featured were the ones that won the U-17 Championship in Cameroon.

“The players are young and will be useful to the country in the near future. That is why the federation wants to keep them and work on them in order to get the best out of them,” concluded Yusuf.

—Bimbo Ajayi